1-1 1/4" (25-32 mm). Above, male dark copper-brown with bright deep purple reflections, dark spots and borders and red-orange submarginal crescents absent to well developed on HW; female mostly dark brown
with orange or buff markings restricted mostly to outer third of wings. Both sexes below dull yellowish- to pinkish-brown with variable dark spotting and a thin submarginal reddish line (often absent).
Bog Copper smaller and even darker above with a yellow to white underside. Purplish Copper usually brighter above and more ocherous below (Rocky Mountain populations indistinguishable from this species).
Caterpillar feeds on various cinquefoils (Potentilla); in East associated with shrubby cinquefoil (P. fruticosa).
1 brood; July-August.
Moist meadows, forest clearings, bogs, and salt marshes.
Alaska east around Hudson Bay to Newfoundland, south to Maine, Ohio, and Minnesota; in Rockies to N. New Mexico.
The Dorcas Copper more or less replaces the Purplish Copper in cooler environments of the North and East. Dorcas Coppers from higher elevations on the Rocky Mountains closely resemble the Purplish Copper, and where both occur, only an expert can distinguish them. Dorcas Coppers are very much alike throughout their ranges with 2 exceptions: near Lincoln, Maine, a small, dull, dark population occurs, and near Bathurst, New Brunswick, individuals are notably darkly marked below. Adults of all populations commonly visit flowers, and seem to favor those of composites